Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Few Words I Live By. Diamond Riley. ( $10.

Awhile ago a 16 year old Harvard Summer School student Diamond Riley sent me some poems, and told me she was going to publish a collection of her writings. I published one of her poems in my “Lyrical Somerville” column in The Somerville News, and several months later I got her book in the mail. Riley, whose poetry is conversational, writes in the first section of her book: “Ok, so you’re probably wondering what the purpose of this book is. Well, in a nutshell I basically want to help young people….teenagers like myself…see things before they happen.” Riley’s poetry concerns the pleasures and perils of the dating scene, the trial and tribulations of being a young African-American, and of forging an identity in a conformist youth culture. In this perceptive piece “Still Growing” the poet writes about the difficulties of growing from girl to woman:

“Damn, how hard is it to act like a woman/Everybody be killing me, complaining about not receiving the proper respect they deserve/…Did you ever think about why, you were treated this way?/No we want the cake and to eat it too/ We want to act like hoes and still be treated like ladies…/ Hell, I am not ready for the STD/ or to be, a mother of three/I am not ready to drop out of the school/ and later struggle for my GED/ I am not ready so…I choose to GROW UP.”

Riley is a spirited and proud of whom she is; as displayed in her poem “Who is Diamond Riley”

“ A Diva/with a name/to live up to/A realist/ who’s not afraid to tell it like it is/ A friend/ who doesn’t like to betray or be betrayed/ A girl with dreams/ who will conquer them all..”

This book will certainly be an inspiration to adolescents, as it talks the talk and walks the walk. It is also an inspiration because Riley did the hard work of compiling a collection and publishing it at the tender age of 16.
Doug Holder/ Ibbetson Update

No comments:

Post a Comment